Wynne Gray: Intimate Suncorp best in world

By Wynne Gray

Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. Magic, love it, perhaps the best rugby stadium in the world.

When you attend that ground you feel so much more connected to the game, the seats are close to the action with the ground fitting in nice and tight to the 53,000 spectators. No wasted space, no great gulf between the sidelines and the stands.

It is so intimate you can hear the smack of bodies, the boot on leather, you feel the power and rhythm of the games.

Give me Suncorp anytime ahead of those great caverns like Twickenham or Sydney. Every time it makes me wonder why Eden Park, now that it is being remodelled in time for the next World Cup, could not have tried to replicate this arena in Brisbane.

I was never in favour of the rehash of Eden Park but having opted for that choice, it would have been great if the administrators had also found a way to get around the perpetuity agreement which guarantees rugby and cricket share the historic ground.

It is an archaic compromise which does not benefit players, spectators or either sport, it perpetuates the adapted famous line used about the late Bob Cunis that the ground, like his surname, is neither one thing or the other.

When the decision was made to retool Eden Park, someone needed to have enough clout and foresight to organise a deal so winter codes shared the ground and cricket was given a new headquarters and arena.

Then the remodelling could have tried to emulate what they have achieved in Brisbane, it could have been a compelling partner to what is our national sport.

And in the spirit of co-operation, other similar sports like league and perhaps soccer could have shared the venue and made greater use of the facility, while cricket created another life elsewhere.

Ask those who are fortunate enough to watch tonight's Tri-Nations decider in "Brizzie", those who can feel all the tension and pulse of the test from close range, how they rate Suncorp against the old Eden Park and the revamped plan.

When there is quality televised coverage of rugby these days from every conceivable angle, those who pay good money to support and watch games live, deserve better than a long-distance view of the match.

- NZ Herald

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